Sandalwood

So on Monday I mentioned sandalwood, and I’ve got some other stuff on the back burner, but the great thing about being a perfume fiend with a large sample collection is that I had several things on hand, so fasten your seatbelt for a ramble, with more to follow eventually.

First off were my older samples of 10 Corso Como and Diptyque Tam Dao.  Both of these fragrances have apparently been reformulated, not due to IFRA regs but because of the shortage of Mysore sandalwood.  So in this case it’s not a safety issue.  Mysore sandalwood is perfectly safe, as are all other things that are natural and from the environment.  Like radon.  And arsenic.  Anyhow, I have no idea how closely my samps match what’s on the shelves right now.

10 Corso Como (rose, geranium, oud-wood resin, vetiver, sandalwood and musk) is Exhibit A in my battle with wearable sandalwood.  It’s rough and raspy and once I become mentally aware that the rose is there it’s too much, you know how I feel about rose, and the oud probably pushes it over the edge for me.  However, I also remembered that I had a bottle of 10CC lotion from my trip to LA – still wrapped in its cellophane (duh).  So I trotted that out, and … okay, that’s nice.   As is often the case with a fragrance you sort of like, but wish were toned down a little (hello, Black Cashmere!) the lotion provides a viable alternative to the fragrance.  The lotion is definitely more muted, and also extremely moisturizing.  The problem with body-product alternative if you wear it like a perfume (i.e., in small quantities and only occasionally) is that, at least in my experience, it tends to go off eventually – and there are few things more revolting to the nose than a body lotion that’s gone a bit rancid.  I had this same problem recently with my old tube of Black Cashmere, although I keep my lotions in the same cool space as my perfume.  Anyhoo, 10CC lotion is nice but not perfect.  For me.

Tam Dao, at least my sample, smells pretty much like pure sandalwood, with a resiny undertone, although in the recent review in The Guide, Tania Sanchez describes it as smelling more like new wood furniture than sandalwood, which is definitely a change (although she still gives it three stars and says it’s probably better as a room spray than a personal fragrance.)  My vintage-y sample of Tam Dao goes right up my nose and starts pounding on my sinuses in a headache-inducing fashion. (Notes: rosewood, cypress, ambergris, and sandalwood.) However, I speculated, and Robin at NST agreed, that Tam Dao layered with Diptyque Philosykos might be excellent.  And it was, which is how I buried it so it would stop hurting me.  For those of you who like fig in theory but find its creamy sweetness overwhelming, some sandalwood underneath adds a nice dry, woody heft.

So then I dug up my bottle of Serge Lutens Santal Blanc, which Robin also suggested, and that was fascinating. Because I always think of Santal Blanc as that weird Serge that smells like a big, freshly sharpened pencil – an ideal pencil, mind you, a pencil that had been blessed by Serge himself, absent the cumin and the dried fruits.  Smelling Santal Blanc after 10CC and Tam Dao allowed me to focus for the first time on its sandalwood – and again, I’ve had my bottle for several years, for all I know it’s been reformulated as well due to the sandalwood shortage.  Anyway, I know it’s early yet, but Santal Blanc may in fact be my perfect sandalwood.  Notes courtesy of NST are white sandalwood, cinnamon, fenugreek, pink pepper, rose, jasmine, orris root, musk, benzoin and copaiba balsam.  What I love about Santal Blanc, revisiting it with an eye toward sandalwood, is that the rest of the notes are muted and the ride is incredibly smooth.  It has almost no development on me, perhaps a hair sweeter at the top, but I can’t pick out the florals (including the rose, thank God), and can I just use the word smooth again?  It’s got enough of the extra ingredients that the sandalwood doesn’t start attacking my brain.  In The Guide, TS calls it “a more lighthearted study of sandalwood’s charms, with its bright, fresh floral charm and raisin sweetness.”  It’s not raisiny sweet on me – in fact it’s the driest Serge I own – but I agree with the lighthearted part.  Being Serge, it lasts forever on me, and, again, some Philosykos thrown on top is terrific as well.

To any newbies or lurkers:  personally, I find picking a note – like sandalwood, or incense, or rose, or jasmine – and exploring a bunch of perfumes that highlight that note, both fun and informative.  You get a sense of how different something like a rose can smell in a fragrance, and sometimes you’ll run across something you like so much that you then decide to explore everything else that particular line (or that perfumer) has to offer.

Finally, a public service announcement (because I can) to those in the D.C. area: this is the last couple of weeks for the National Gallery of Art’s The Darker Side of Light, a fascinating and creepy set of lithographs, drypoints and etchings from the latter half of the 19th century.  If you’ve ever stood in front of yet another life-sized oil of, say, Louis XV and been guiltily bored out of your mind, here’s a whole new way to look at art — the sort that was kept private, for intense, detailed study.  Lots of dreamscapes and fantastical images, yours for the perusing, free.  I hear the guided tour is excellent.

82 Comments

  1. Howdy, March. I tried the new 10CC and compared it wrist to wrist with the old stuff. At first, the old stuff blew the doors off the new stuff: old was lovely, rich and mellow; new was screechy, strange, raw, pixelated beyond recognition. At least, that’s what my indignant-about-reformulations side was stomping around saying.

    But after twenty minutes or so both my wrists smelled more or less the same. In fact, I might have even given the edge to the new stuff. I went and bought a bottle, which tells you something. =d>

    • Huh. Can I tell you how happy I am to start the morning off with your comment?! Where something may smell a bit different but it’s not some reformulation disaster? So thanks!

      Seriously, how’s the rose on you? This is going to be problematic for me, rose/sandalwood is clearly a popular combo, like rose/saffron.

      • My pleasure, M.

        I think the 10CC might well be problematic in the rose department. Seriously. I wouldn’t put this at the top of your list.

        I’ve got little sandalwood puddles all over my arms this morning to see what might get to the top of your list. I love Santal Blanc, yes indeedy. And BdI is a must-try, but make sure it’s vintage, because the Les Exclusifs is a whole different ballgame, and sandalwood is NOT up to bat; it’s only warming up in the practise zone. No headache from Tam Dao, but more freshly-sawn rosewood than sandalwood in this formulation, which is a couple of years old. I do adore it.

        Now, my vote for top sandalwood contender along with BdI and the proven SB: Etro Sandolo. But you’ve probably sniffed it a zillion times, so you may have already dismissed it. On the off-chance you haven’t, or haven’t in eons, this may be the baby. It’s sandalwood center stage, and not mucked-up with rose or lumberyard, and not sickly-sweet and heavy like Samsara. It’s not pure sandalwood – notes are orange, rose and lemon, sandalwood, patchouli, lavender and cedar, amber, musk and myrrh. The rose is barely there, you’ll be pleased to hear. The amber, musk and myrrh are definitely weighing in.

        In case any of this helps. Happy hunting, March.

        • No, see, that’s what’s so great about the blog — having decided I’m interested in sandalwood, why not ask for suggestions? It’s true, I bet I’ve seen every scent listed on here, but I never picked them up to smell anything named (essentially) Sandalwood. I will definitely try the Etro, I like a couple of their scents very much and it sounds just right.

          You know, I should try the new Tam Dao, I bet I’d love it, even if it makes everyone else weep.

  2. I used to have two fragrances: sandalwood essential oil in the winter, lavender essential oil in the summer…|-)

    10CC was new to me as of a couple of years ago, so I’m not familiar with the original. But I love what I’ve got. It’s a real go-to scent on a horrible cold damp day when I want to stay in bed but have to go to work. I get the rose, too, but it’s a spicy old potpourri rose, a type I like (such as is in MPeG George Sand). Plus I love the bottle and the graphics on the label are great. Thought Robin’s observation was interesting–nice to know I haven’t completely lost out by missing the first go-round.

    I remember not being wildly impressed with Santal Blanc. I’ll have to give it another try.

    Another good sandalwood in my opinion is Santa Maria Novella Sandalo. I think it’s pretty much a soliflore (solibois?)but good to slap on on a cold day when I don’t want to spend much time thinking about what I’ll wear that day. It’s a bracing sandalwood.

    And I agree about picking a note and doing a scent comparison. I tried this with several vanillas a while back and was astonished to find I liked Un Bois Vanille even better than SDV, finding it to be softer and drier on me.

    • You know, that’s a good description, potpourri rose. And I have the lotion another go-round and ignored the rose, and then it was fine.

      You’re scaring me with “bracing sandalwood.” I find dull sandalwood pretty bracing. :d I’ll have to try it, there’s a store here that carries SMN.

      I think Santal Blanc comes across as dull when compared to other SLs which are so much louder and more interesting. As a sandalwood, though, it’s both creamy and dry, and (on me) not overly using florals to balance the wood.

      So true about vanilla! Yeah, if you don’t want to own 5 things that basically smell like vanilla, why not cross-compare? SDV was eventually too sweet on me.

      • This is going to KILL me to admit, but I bought a bottle of SDV when it first came out, and luuurrrved it beyond reason. That first winter and last winter as well, I couldn’t wear anything else. But this winter…. the couple of times I’ve worn it, it’s uh, um too sweet. :((

        Oh, sorry, this was a sandalwood discussion.

        • Hey, that’s okay! We could have a whole separate discussion on things we’ve fallen out of love with. At least you got a couple years out of it. The big killer is when you finally spring for a bottle after using a sample or decant, and something goes horribly wrong. :-ss

        • And PS wasn’t I helpful? If you don’t want to unload it on eBay (I’m sure it would sell) have you considered layering it with something? Like, for instance, sandalwood? That would probably be great. And SdV (or any vanilla) layered with something cheap ‘n smoky, like Demeter Bonfire or the CB version, is wonderful.

          • I actually – accidentally – layered it with Le Labo Patch 24 and that ended up being a great combination.

  3. Hey March! I love your exploration. I’m doing the same thing with vetiver right now, and also patchouli to an extent. I just bought a bottle of Turtle Vetiver (it’s on the way!) which I am so freakin’ excited about, and I’m wearing Vetiver Extraordinaire on one hand and Sycomore on the other. I totally agree- it’s so fun to play with a note and follow it trough different perfumes to see its treatment. You learn so much about a line or a nose that way! And, I think you learn about other notes in the process, as far as how they are paired with your exploration note and their effects. PS, I think I’ll eventually own a bottle of both VE and Sycomore.

    Have you pulled out Bois des Iles yet? It’s one of the exclusives I own and, while sandalwood hasn’t hit my radar yet, it’s pretty good! I agree with TS’s statement that it’s a brunette sibling of No. 5. I do wonder how it “used” to be, since I bought my bottle back in September and it’s sure to be totally synthetic. However, I still enjoy it and it’s aldehydic woodiness.

    • A vetiver freak! Vetiver I like tons but as an ancillary note, you v-heads are too hardcore for me. 😉 Let’s see, so you have to try that Vero Kern, yes? Which one is the vetiver? Onda? Vetiver freaks made humorous, moaning sounds when they talked about it. And I know I’m overlooking something else, a BIG vetiver, let me think. I have the Le Labo, but it doesn’t smell particularly vetiver to me, more like dirt. Worth trying, though. Big smell. My husband hates it.

      Sycomore I loved, although on me it’s unwearable. My taste in vetivers runs to Guerlain Vetiver and the Lubin, I’m a lightweight. I really want a bottle of that Lubin, it was like a cocktail vetiver. The Givenchy is like that too. Yum.

      • Oh Onda. That one may be too hardcore, even for me. I definitely felt it a dark, wicked sister to Vol de Nuit, and I have a hard time with leathers, so it was a rough ride. It might have been ok but it got that citrusy-lily of the valley thing going on eventually which made it a scrubber. Worth another shot, but not for me. I am however glad you brought up the Le Labo since I totally forgot about it and have a sample sitting here on the desk! That’ll be a try for tomorrow. I recall it being a vetiver-incense combo, which means, obviously, that I should like it. Thanks to that trunk sale at Neiman Marcus I’m now lusting after the Vetiver pour Elle, and I only smelled it fleetingly. Everyone says it’s great, though. And I’m totally kicking myself for not buying Route du Vetiver when retailers were still stocking it, but at the time it was too much for me. Oh how we learn. It smelled like bug spray to me, but now that’s precisely why I love it. Figure that out. I am curious about the Givenchy but have never seen it anywhere, so hey, the list goes on.

        Oh, and since this is about sandalwood, I can totally smell that sandalwood in Sycomore after doing some comparisons. Neat!

        • Onda is actually pretty, in a weird way – there’s a dish soap smell in the early app that I find intriguing (Shelley calls it ‘white grease’ and another friend smelled Desitin – maybe the same thing?)

          I love vetivers. I like that woody/greeney/dirty-rooty smell. And leather.

          Not that familiar with sandalwoods and now have to go back and huff some Sycomore – I love that scent but didn’t know it had sandalwood. Maybe I’m thinking head-shop sandalwood?

          Maybe I’m not thinking at all. My po’ brain is tiiiired.

          xoxoxo >-)

        • Perhaps Andy Tauer’s Vetiver Dance is one that March meant to suggest?

          • No, she meant Onda. I don’t think they get along. It’s a challenging scent, I admit, and I don’t think I would wear it as an attractant but it has a weird beauty (“pretty” was inappropriate description)

            Vetiver Dance is on the knife edge of TMV for me. It veers towards Vetiver Stomp.

            xo >-)

        • The Givenchy was available at Nordstrom for about nine seconds when they did that big rerelease a couple years ago — L’Interdit, Le De, etc. (Les Mythiques collection) One of them was called just Vetiver (or maybe Vetyver) and I thought it was wonderful.

          • Oh my gosh, y’all, thanks for all of this vetiver talk on the sandalwood post!!! You guys rock! And that Givenchy Vetyver is so freakin’ cheap! Thanks March!

            :)>-

    • PS So I browsed on TPC and I think I must have been thinking of the Le Labo, which is very smoky. Again, it doesn’t really have that rooty quality I think of as vetiver, but it’s a powerhouse scent.

  4. Two words: Molinard Nirmala. An OLD bottle. Sandalwood heaven! If you like your wood with a bit o’ fruit that is, which I do. :d

  5. Happy explorations! I’ve done several note-based voyages (oud, rose, tonka-can’t wait for the new Guerlain Imperiale) and it’s loads of fun :d/

    My sandalwood pets include the older BdI-heaven! Also vintagey Samsara, and a cheapy-V’Tae Sacred Fire. My bottle of the latter is several years old, I have no idea of the source of the wood, but it’s mighty pleasant-and smoooooth 🙂

    • oh-notes for the Sacred Fire: rose, vanilla, labdanum, clary sage, sandalwood, davana, frankencense, styrax, osmanthus, pomouwood, cedarwood, other woods. Obviously not a “soliwood”-but the drydown is very sandalwoody. And warm 😉

    • Hm. The Sacred Fire is cheap-cheap, yes? And I think I tried yours and liked it. Smooth sounds good.

      You with the tonka. :-ss 😉

  6. I’ve never considered myself a sandalwood fan – hello Samsara, the beginning of the downfall of Guerlain, to my mind, and heartbreaking for me. However, I do love (and always have) Bois des Iles so there is clearly some aspect of said wood that I love. I think Samsara in all its 80s powerhouse redness just frightened me off. Perhaps it’s time to try again. I’m sure there must be many, many sandalwoods in my sample/decant collection.

    I love the sound of that exhibition, but DC is a teensy bit too far from London….

    • Samsara, Champs-Elysees and that other one (Mahora?) never did it for me, but I should retry Samsara. And the BdI has come up several times.

      • An older bottle of Samsara pure parfum is really heavenly, and much more subtle than the bombastic EdP. I have one from about 2000, and it’s definitely a blend of real and synth sandalwood, but very nice indeed.

  7. That’s odd – I wore Santal Blanc yesterday, too! I love that one, one of my fave Serge exports along with my beloved Arabie and, oh, well, Douce Amere, I suppose. (Hmmm, I thought I like more of the exports…) I remember Victoria of BdJ and LT somewhere saying that the sandalwood note in SB was entirely synthetic, so I thought it had not been recently reformulated, but I shall have to trot down to Sephora to see if this is the case and I have missed buying yet another treaure. I perceive my old decant as both sweet and dry, and so, so creamy like… uh… an ideal, blessed pencil, I guess. Tam Dao OTOH is entirely changed. I smelled a fresh batch in December and it smelled only of cedar and spices, like misbottled Diptyque L’Eau or something. It doesn’t smell bad, actually, just completely different and so I find it utterly distressing. They should stop making it.

    • And there you go, if the sandalwood in SB is entirely synthetic, then I can clearly live with synthetic sandalwood. And btw I wasn’t implying that it HAD been reformulated, only that folks who love sandalwood have noticed a difference in some of their favorite sandalwood scents.

      So it is true about Tam Dao. That’s too bad. I always thought of it as a reference sandalwood, even if it wasn’t my thing.

      • So the sandalwood in SB is synth? Huh. That may explain why I don’t like it. I love real sandalwood, including the essential oil, but I find SB sickening. I expect most sandalwood fragrances have some synthetic ingredients, but maybe that one has a lot. I don’t like the commonly used fake sandalwood you find in toiletries, and that’s what SB reminds me of.

        My favourite sandalwood is an old Kiehl’s oil I’ve had for years. I don’t think they do it any more. Second is the Madini Santal Blanc oil. I quite like both 10CC and Tam Dao, as well. (I have ‘old’ bottles of both). I hate the current Samsara, though. It’s screechy and cheap-smelling. I’m sure it used to be much nicer, or am I imagining that?

        Incidentally, to my nose Ava Luxe No. 23 is a lot like Tam Dao. I’d suggest it as an alternative to a reformulated TD, except didn’t Ava stop selling scents?

        • I said this the other day, and I apologize for the repetition, but you know how it is when you first discover something. A few weeks ago I bought a bottle of vintage Samsara and I can’t quit singing its praises – very soft and beautiful. I too find the more recent versions awful and screechy – especially that violet note.

      • They do! I know, I found it weird myself. Unfortunately, though they started with most of the export line, they’ve been whittling it down, and I think Arabie, Ambre Sultan, Fleur D’Oranger, Santal Blanc and one bottle of Un Bois Vanille were the only survivors last time I looked. Our downtown Bay store stopped carrying SL and the upscale Andrews has missing or unlabelled and ratty testers lately, so it’s a sad time to be a Toronto Serge fan.

        • I really should get a bottle of FdO next, I’ve worked through several decants. Not sure why I’m failing to buy it. :d

  8. I wore Tam Dao during my holiday in Vietnam and loved it, but haven’t touched it since (not sure if I have the old or the new version). Think it’s the only sandalwood based scent I own.

    Can’t recall Santal Blanc at all, which links me to another post of yours when you re-discovered Cedre: I must spend more time with the export SLs. Because they are so ubiquous, I always tend to overlook them and it’s been ages since I gave the line a proper run, apart from the more recent releases (adore Fille en Aiguilles…)

    • The Serges are fun to re-explore. I sort of smelled them all at once, and you know how that goes — by the third one I’m done. They’re not ubiquitous where I am, I have to make an effort to smell them, and I’m happy to discover a love I’d overlooked, like Cedre.

      • ooops some pixies must have eaten part of that ubiquitous…@-)

  9. Funny you mention layering sandalwood with Philosykos, as I’ve been using Santal Blanc to give some edge to Premier Figuier Extreme. Lately that PFE has been too soft and sort of creamy for me — the sandalwood sharpens it nicely.

    Does anyone know when Tam Dao was reformulated?

    • Hah, so you’re doing the same thing with PFE! Sandalwood and fig is a wonderful combo, and then I’m avoiding the rose I dislike … I have no idea about the reformulation. I looked on eBay and didn’t see any old bottles, though. Probably the best bet would be a boutique with some dusty back-stock, but I don’t have any of those around here, everyone quit carrying Diptyque, which is sad.

  10. March have you tried Satellite’s Padparadscha? I stumbled across it last year and it is gorgeous – a very smooth uncomplicated sandalwood

    • Oh, I should try that one, I have their fig which I like very much, and their bottles are cool. I bet TPC sells samples of Padparadscha.

  11. I like sandalwood as a soli-note in theory, but after an hour or so, I’m ready to scrub it off. It doesn’t matter how much I like the scent for the first hour. This happens with vintage Samsara parfum, 10 CC and Corso Como, all of which I think are perfectly fine fragrances. Just way too much of a good thing, I suppose.

    Bois des Iles is definitely my favorite of the other sandalwood-oriented scents. Vintage is gorgeous, although I don’t mind the modern at all. I like the initial aldehyde lift, it has the elegance of a Chanel and the drydown is creamier than many other sandalwood fragrances.

    • So the same thing happens to you, eh? Yeah, I like it too, at first, but man, it’s so persistent and in your face, it gets on my nerves eventually.

      Louise is going to hook me up with BdI. If I adore it (and I might) I expect I’ll spring for it. I had a sample a million years ago but I either used it up or swapped it. I remember liking it, not sure why I didn’t pursue it. The giant one (the Exclusif) doesn’t stick around on me for long.

  12. Hmmm, I have to dab my wrists with my 10CC and Tam Dao samples again. Just for review comparison. I can’t quite formulate my preference into words but I know I prefer Diptyque’s Tam Dao. It’s drier, cleaner sandalwood that calms me down. 10CC reminds me too much of cheap sandalwood soaps for some reason with a note in there I can’t quite stand.

    I do adore sandalwood, and like you still on the hunt for that perfect one. Gotta try Santal Blanc next!

    • At least on me, SB doesn’t become floral, just faintly sweet (which cuts the raspiness of the sandalwood nicely.)

      • ah, maybe that’s what it is then? floral blend in 10CC? i can see how it can smell like a cheap soap.

        • If people are mentioning potpourri rose when talking of 10CC it’s a couple baby steps to cheap soap. 😉

  13. Ha ha ha! The safety of natural indeed…I enjoy putting digitalis on that list myself, but that would be the mystery novel fan in me…

    As an…experienced student?…I’d put in a hearty second for forays by note. I never would have learned that I actually enjoy some aldehydes if I hadn’t hunkered down and spent a couple of weeks with a flight. I also wouldn’t have been able to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t crazy…I simply am not crazy about aldehydes, and so be it.

    Hey, if Santal Blanc is the blessed pencil, what is Cedre? Go ahead, get straight to the point. You can’t erase my positive experience with it.

    • Hmm, “hunkered down.” Makes me sound all serious and all. And is misleading…because it was simply that one day I got a notion to take a trip through the bubbles, and gathered up what I had, ID’d a few others to get samples of to round it out, and just had fun, erm, nosing around. :d

    • No, no, no erasing your experience with Cedre! I reviewed it recently. I loved it and bought a bottle. But in my review I laughed at myself because I think I’d never tried it, assuming incorrectly it was some giant CEDAR, and Serge cedar doesn’t play nicely on my skin in large quantities. Cedre is essentially tuberose on me, but not powdery and not too sweet. More creamy/honeyed. Let me quote TS in The Guide: “Cedar has long been Lutens’ wood of choice, so it seems peculiar that his cedar should not be a cedar at all…” (surprised her too). “A tuberose oriental… a kind of niche version of Amarige.” (three stars)

      And there you go. Focusing on a note also allows you to decide that — hey — it’s just not your thing, at least right now.

      • I am l-). Chene. I meant Chene. You did beautifully describe your current thoughts on Cedre in that review.

        breaks into momentary wail to cover her error… Lutens! Oy. The Fruited Wood Variations. There’s a lot of ’em. end wailing Of course, the one I took home to meet the family was Chene. And I’m happy I did…I’m just pock-brained these day, and brain blarted.

        Have fastened my seat belt, and am very happy you are taking us along on your sandalwood ride.

      • Also, to be nice to Uncle Serge, there is Santal de Mysore, which I had avoided mentioning previously because I am suspicious by nature and they are pushing that one has having real Mysore sandalwood (from sufficiently harvested stock or some such). In fact, I am sometimes so cantankerous that “tree hugger” + “refuse to fall for a gimmick” meant that I didn’t even sample it last time I was at the Barney’s counter. But that might have been a cut my nose off to spite my face kind of thing; after all, there it was, in front of me (the perfume, not my nose)…and meanwhile, I have no dealer for vintage BdI in parfum or extrait or whatever. Principles; gonna fall on my unscented sword for principles, and I don’t even really know what the story is. Did I already say l-) ?

        • You’re right to mention it! Santal de Mysore is the way a SL sandalwood perfume would be expected to smell: spice market and honey fruit syrup up front with loads of woodsy woody wood wood wood. Problem is, all the wood isn’t sandalwood–there’s a cedar wallop in the base. If you’re looking for a richer sandalwood, and don’t need the spice market, you could always check out Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s Santal Noble.

          • Thanks for describing it! Of course, your observation can’t help but provoke me to stomp my foot again–said in the manner of Jan’s Brady Bunch quote @ Marsha: It’s always cedar, cedar, cedar!! 😉

  14. Six months into this hobby, when my nose was even more of a neophyte organ than it is now after not quite two years, I remember likening the scent of Timbuktu to being “trapped in a tea chest” and that of Tam Dao to being “trapped in a tea chest on fire”. I think I have much more tolerance for woody notes now, even pencil shavings up to a point, though I remember not liking Santal Blanc, and Samsara was too screechy somehow.

    I am not a fan of 10 CC (the perfume, not the band!) precisely because of the potpourri note, which also spoils things like Cabaret and some Czech & Speakes I can’t quite bring to mind, where the potpourri acquires a Gothic twist.

    If I still had my samples of Santal Blanc or Tam Dao, I would certainly try the figgy layering trick, being a major fan of fig in most guises.

    My favourite sandalwoods are Bois des Iles and as I mentioned in the New Year thread, Damien Bash Lucifer #3, which I don’t seem to come across on the blogs but which is a very good representation of the note. Things like Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal and the various Creed Santal Imperial etcs are too insipid for my liking. Yes, there is a fine line between insipid and tea chesty, and I think Damien Bash gets it right!

    • Fig! Figgy figgy fig. I fell into a fig frenzy at some point and tried almost all of them. If you look in our archives, there’s Figmania Parts 1 and 2. Fig is very comforting, and I am pleased to find a new way (with a sandalwood undertone) to wear it when I’m wanting something sweeter. Fig with my bottle of SB should do me for awhile.

      I’ll have to try the Damien Bash, I remember you mentioning it.

  15. Wow. This is very interesting.

    I get no rose at all from 10 CC, and I have it in at least two formulations. (Still searching, fruitlessly, for the powerful oud/sandalwood stuff that I got in my original sample from Beautyhabit and then never found again. *Sob* That stuff nearly made me lay down in the street my knees were so weak.) Anyway, you know where you can send yours…

    Tam Dao has never smelled like sandalwood at all to me. But maybe I never smelled an old enough sample? Would three years ago count?

    I think the problem with Samsara as a sandalwood referent is the heavy–heavy like a wet dog–ylang ylang. Thunk.

    And on the subject of safety and the natural: the only one of my perfumes to ever give me a serious rash (and it does it nearly every time) is my vintage Bois des Iles. But I wear it anyway. Because OH MY GOD…

    Can’t wait to hear more, March!

    • I was never into sandalwood enough to pay attention, so I have no idea when they changed Tam Dao, but it’s too bad. I’d think three years ago would still be safe, but what do I know?

      Samsara is just not doing it for me, too HEAVY. Yeah, maybe that’s it, the ylang?

      And I’m laughing about the BdI. Of course we have to suffer a little sometimes for our art. :d

  16. It’s funny you should mention, researching a note. In January 2008, I discovered Donna Karan’s Labdanum Essence. I, very much, liked this labdanum and began to search for other fragrances that had it. This is how I discovered the blogs, and MUA’s fragrance board. I came across TPC, did the usual research, to make sure it was legit, and on 1/28 (I remember the dates, I’m pathetic) I put in my 1st order. Now I’m broke, but happy.

    Nothing to do with Sandlewood of course, but sort of, on topic…
    And, Happy New Year!

    • Kathleen, I remembered my entry date for a long time, too. And I am enough of a nostalgic nerd, that I still have that intro set grouped together in an old lipstick holder. 😡

  17. Oddly enough, Serge’s Santal Blanc is the one sandalwood I can’t stand. And I do really well with it, usually. No headaches, etc. from that note. It’s those nasty aldehydes and chypres that always do me in. Hence why I will never be a vintage Jezebel (with apologies to all those who are). :d

  18. Santal Blanc is my favorite SL, aside from FdB. I don’t think it’s sweet at all, very dry like you say. But very wearable. I often forget about it because I have a little decant of it. I need to put in the front of my collection so I’ll remember to wear it more often!

    ~Trish

  19. Yes Dear. I agree total. The perfumes Tone Ford deserve to be evaluated with calm.Magnificent.
    Serge Lutens too. XoXO. Elisabeth

  20. Santal Blanc smells like nail polish remover on me… noxious fumes, no sandalwood in sight.

    I lurve 10 Corso Como, the vintage of course. I also have an old bottle of Tam Dao that is quite nice, although a bit too woody for me and gets tiresome. And Bois des Iles is a big favorite, of any vintage.

    I didn’t get rose in 10 CC, need to sniff it again tonight to check.

  21. Talk of reformulated Tam Dao makes me slightly nervous. It’s my one, hands-down favourite scent, and I’d be heart-broken if it was ruined. Then again, I might own the current version. I hope so – in that case, I won’t know what I missed. 🙁
    No. 23 *does* smell a lot like TD, though I figured they were different enough to own both. Correction, I didn’t figure that: no. 23 just insinuated itself into my collection and now that I own it, I keep justifying the purchase…

  22. No thread discussing sandalwood can be complete without the mention of Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo & Yardley Sandalwood. Both of these are incredibly beautiful sandalwood fragrances. LV Sandalo is almost a meditative fragrance for me.
    I also enjoy vintage Samsara edp which has some great sandalwood in the drydown.
    I’ve also heard nothing but good things about Floris Sandalwood, which is discontinued and very hard to find. Luckily just this morning I scored a partial bottle and am so excited for it to arrive.
    Art of Shaving Sandalwood is another excellent sandalwood fragrance. The Eucalyptus can get too much in the beginning but it settles down to a very nice sandalwood.

    I’ve taken notes about Molinard Nirmala & also Molinard Bois Precieux. Would love to see how they exhibit my favorite sandalwood note.

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